States are not great|
Except as men may make them;
Men are not great except they do and dare.
But States, like men,
Have destinies that take them
That bear them on, not knowing why or where.
The WHY repels
The philosophic searcher --
The WHY and WHERE all questionings defy,
Until we find,
Far back in youthful nurture,
Prophetic facts that constitute the WHY.
All merit comes
From braving the unequal;
All glory comes from daring to begin.
Fame loves the State
That, reckless of the sequel,
Fights long and well, whether it lose or win.
Than in our State
No illustration apter
Is seen or found of faith and hope and will.
Take up her story:
Every leaf and chapter
Contains a record that conveys a thrill.
And there is one
Whose faith, whose fight, whose failing,
Fame shall placard upon the walls of time.
He dared begin --
Despite the unavailing,
He dared begin, when failure was a crime.
When over Africa
Some future cycle
Shall sweep the lake-gemmed uplands with its surge;
When, as with trumpet
Of Archangel Michael,
Culture shall bid a colored race emerge;
When busy cities
There, in constellations,
Shall gleam with spires and palaces and domes,
With marts wherein
Is heard the noise of nations;
With summer groves surrounding stately homes --
There, future orators
To cultured freemen
Shall tell of valor, and recount with praise
Stories of Kansas,
And of Lacedaemon --
Cradles of freedom, then of ancient days.
O'erlooking both Nyanzas,
The statured bronze shall glitter in the sun,
With rugged lettering:
"JOHN BROWN OF KANSAS
HE DARED BEGIN;
BUT, LOSING, WON."